First Things First
Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after handling food.
If you’re planning a party or BBQ at home and are not sure how quickly the food will be eaten, keep portions small. Prepare a number of small platters and dishes ahead of time. Store cold back-up dishes in the refrigerator or keep hot dishes in the oven set at 200° F to 250° F (-73° C to -23° C) prior to serving. This way, your late-arriving guests can enjoy the same appetizing arrangements as the early arrivals.
Hot foods should be kept at an internal temperature of 140° F (60° C) or warmer. Use a food thermometer to check. Serve or keep food hot in chafing dishes, crock pots, and warming trays. Note: Some warmers only hold food at 110° F to 120° F (-163° C to -153° C), so check the product label to make sure your warmer has the capability to hold foods at 140° F or warmer.
Cold foods should be kept at 40° F (4 ° C) or colder. Keep cold foods refrigerated until serving time. If food is going to stay out on the buffet table longer than two hours, place plates of cold food on ice to retain the chill. You can fill a larger bowl with ice and place under the bowl or plate with food. Make an Ice Bowl , you need two bowls the serving bowl and a larger bowl Place serving bowl in larger bowl suspending it with tape. Fill the larger bowl with water and place both bowls in freezer and freeze overnight works perfectly. In the morning remove bowls from freezer, remove top bowl, and then release ice bowl from larger bowl. Place frozen bowl in large zip lock bag and return to freezer to use at your party. At serving time just take out the frozen bowl and place the bowl of cold food inside and serve. I put the ice bowl inside a decorative shallow bowl to allow for melting.
Keep It Fresh
Don’t add more fresh food to an already-filled serving dish. Instead, replace nearly-empty serving dishes with freshly-filled ones. Bacteria from people’s hands may have contaminated the food. Plus, bacteria may have started to multiply at room temperature.
Watch the Clock
Remember the 2-Hour Rule: Discard any perishables left out at room temperature for more than two hours, unless you’re keeping it hot or cold. If the buffet is held in a place where the temperature is above 90°F, the safe-holding time is reduced to one hour.
Leaving with Leftovers?
First RULE If in doubt
THROW IT OUT!
If you feel the food is OK, be sure to refrigerate leftovers immediately after you arrive home.
Want to know more about safe food handling. go to the FDA Government Site with this link.
keep’n ya safe! betti : )